Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, February 23, 2008
a few words from the scum of the Earth...
I have no idea what to write. There are nights like this for me. Nights where I am so frazzled by the words and actions of those I have tried to bring the Gospel to, that I'm left speechless. Actually, it's more than speechless, because it's not that I don't want to talk about our evangelistic effort, it's that I really have no interest in recollecting over 99% of what I have experienced. It's quite a thing being looked upon and treated as the literal scum of the Earth by so many, for simply preaching the Bible in a public place.
That being said, I continue with the notes. Why? Because I know now that the clumsy words that form my Friday Night Notes have become an encouragement to many of my brothers and sister-in-the Lord. So this one if for all of you, dear readers, and I apologize in advance if the post sounds whiny.
Only an hour had past in our customary night of street preaching, and pastor Tim and I both came to the same conclusion: "What an ungodly zoo!" From the street beggar who declared that we were the enemies of God (because God doesn't want us preaching anything about Hell, of course...)
, to the sodomites who, in their usual effeminate tone, told us all about what was their favorite sexual practice, and everything in between, it was all pretty bad. All pretty miserable.
The second hour wasn't much better. If anything, it was worse. While we were preaching, a group of young people (about ten of them)
came near to our preaching spot and began to yell obscenities and blasphemies, laughing scornfully with every insult. This was a tense hour. It was difficult to tell if these souls would up their persecution with violence, so pastor Tim and I remained side-by-side for a good 20 minutes. Praise God though, it didn't come to violence, though a couple of men from that group got in pastor Tim's face with their camera-phones, yelling and mocking him. In response to this, I took my camera phone and took a picture of this upstanding citizen in all his glory. Having their picture taken, I suspect, made the group nervous (perhaps fearing I would use these pictures in a complaint to the police)
, and they quickly walked away.
After two solid hours of mockery, reviling, and threats, the Lord gave each pastor Tim and I a courteous, civilized conversation with unconverted souls. It was quite the breath of fresh air. I don't know much about the conversation pastor Tim had with the young man he dealt with. I know that pastor Tim encouraged the young man to get some personal issues settled in his life, and the young man agreed with pastor Tim's counsel. I had a great exchange with a man named Mike. He also had some personal issues he needed to deal with and I tried, as best I could to point him in the right direction. After this, I asked him where he think he would go if he died right then and there...
"Heaven, for sure," he replied.
"Okay," I continued, "what makes you so sure?"
"'Cause all my life I've done good for others, even when I did bad things, I always found a way to do good afterwards," the man said.
I couldn't keep from smiling at this point. I told him that his answer was a common one. Then I gave him my prognosis:
"Hades, Mike... if you died right now, you'd be going to Hades."
"Why?" he replied.
"Well, first off, you've been drinking tonight," I began. "You drank enough for me to smell it powerfully on your breath. Now, I'm not saying that that makes you a terribly wicked, Hell-bent creature, but it does tell me that, at best, somewhere along the way, you stopped following Jesus. At worst, you've never followed him at all. Secondly, and this is critically important, when I asked you where you got your assurance of salvation, who answered with "works", and the Bible is clear that no flesh would be justified by works."
Mike took all this pretty well. He agreed with my evaluation and admitted that he felt a large measure of guilt concerning the sin that was in his life. I was able to give a bit of the Gospel message to him, and encouraged him to read the Bible. When he told me that he didn't own a Bible, I gave him my pocket Bible (note to all the evangelists reading this post: ALWAYS KEEP A POCKET BIBLE ON YOU)
. He promised me he would read the Scriptures, and asked me where we met for church. It was then that Mike shook his head and said:
"Oh man! I can't possibly become one of you 'born-agains'!"
"Mike," I said laughing out loud, "if God will save you, no force on Earth could stop you from being born-again, and if God doesn't save you, no force on Earth could give you spiritual life."
All this was really encouraging, but make no mistake dear readers, that was a whole lot of oysters and very, very few pearls. Perhaps it's all in my attitude... perhaps I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy tonight, but really, you should have been there. I mean, what an ungodly mess. Even when I made my way back to my van after our time of evangelism was done, the devil set out a snare for me that could have developed into a very big problem, but the Holy Spirit quickly guided me out of my predicament. Praise the Lord for His blessing on me.
With that, dear readers, I close the notes. I'm preaching the evening service on the Lord's Day, so I would appreciate your prayers, dear saints of God. Have a safe weekend, and a glorious, restful Lord's Day.
God bless you all.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, February 16, 2008
a future conversion story... I hope so...
The image to the left is a place I have learned to truly loathe. It is a place that has come in quite handy at keeping us preachers from freezing to death, but I loathe it nonetheless. Those are the stairs that connect the different levels of the parking garage behind our preaching spot. In the winter time, when pastor Tim and I start to get cold, we head for these stairs and run up and down two, three, sometimes four times; this causes an increase in circulation, and before long, our bodies warm up. Now you may all be thinking: "Wow! that's a great way to handle the cold!" Well, it is... but after working a 40 hour week, believe me, the last thing I really want to be doing on Friday night is jogging up and down dirty, concrete stairs... multiple times!
It was pretty cold tonight (about -15 Celsius, or 4 Fahrenheit) , so I needed a few rounds of climbing stairs in the parking garage. As you can see from the image to the far right though, there was still plenty of people in the market for pastor Tim and I to minister to. We preached the Gospel and distributed Bible tracts for our usual three hours to a people who, for the most part, cared nothing for the cause of Christ. No doubt there were, amongst the crowds, some of God's elect in the market tonight, but sadly, they were quite invisible to us.
The exception to that came in a conversation I had with a young man named Pat. This young man has had a pretty rough life, and just recently came out of "detox". He told me he was in the market tonight to find something to help get his mind off his sorrows. He tried to get into a bar/pub, but the cover charge was too steep for his diminished funds, so he was just aimlessly walking through the market, and that's when he heard my preaching. We had a great conversation. Sin, judgment, eternity, God and the Lord Jesus Christ, I was able to touch on all the great themes of the Gospel and Pat took it all pretty well. Only having Romanism in his religious background, he had (and probably still has) at lot of messed ideas about God, but he didn't fight against the Scriptures when I communicated them to him (that's an excellent sign!).
Pat had a very obvious joy in him as we spoke of the Gospel. He literally beamed. I invited him to come to church on the Lord's Day, and he gave me the impression that he was going to come. Before leaving, Pat mentioned that he felt like the Lord was doing something in him tonight. I will be praying that this is indeed the case. Oh! that the Lord would show mercy to this dear soul.
Now, I'm really tired and weary, so I'm going to close the notes here tonight. Dear saints of God, please remember Pat in your prayers, and remember Collin also; he was working tonight, but did not come to speak with us.
Have a good weekend, and a blessed, glorious Lord's Day, dear readers.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, February 09, 2008
good to be back at it... What you are seeing to the right is the necessary outfit of a Canadian street preacher, in the winter months. That's right, if I were a super-hero, this would be my costume. For my top half: a vest, a Fall jacket, and a winter jacket. For my bottom half, some long-johns (underwear that keep your legs warm), a pair of knitted wool sox (lovingly knitted by loving wife), and a serious pair of winter boots. Then there is a toque ("winter hat"), thick mittens, and a scarf to keep body heat in, and the cold out. All this, of course, doesn't include my regular clothes underneath, which usually includes not one, but two warm sweaters. It usually takes me 10 minutes to get "suited up", and even with all this effort, by 11pm, I'm usually frozen stiff. LOL.
It's been quite a night of preaching, out there in the marketplace. We had a number of conversations; many of them were probably not too profitable, but who knows what the Lord, in time, will do. We were mocked and maligned by a number of sinners but we were able to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ to a number of souls over the course of the night. I definitely have a number of souls I'm going to want to pray for this weekend, people the Lord brought to me tonight.
The first man I dealt with was a young, drunken man who wanted to know what my John 3:36
bible sign meant. The man's name was Michel, and Michel was, well, somewhat loud. I tried to share the Gospel with Michel from John 3:36
, but trying to keep a spiritual conversation going with someone who is intoxicated is quite difficult. His friend eventually pulled him away, but not before Michel shook my hand and thanked me for my time. I truly hope the Lord will use the few words I had with him to give him Life and Light.
Right after dealing with Michel, as I was offering Bible literature to people who were walking by me, and Asian man turned to me and said:
"God is good!"
"Yes, He is," I replied. "He's been very good to me."
"He's good to everyone," he continued.
"Tell me, my friend, are you saved," I inquired.
"God saves us all," the man replied.
"No, He doesn't," I shot back.
With that, the man walked away, mumbling something about I was the only kind of person God doesn't save. So, in about a minute, this poor soul went from being a Universal Salvationist to, well, not being a Universal Salvationist. I guess that sort of thing happens when the unconverted are forced to make up their theology on the fly.
A few moments later, a security guard from the parking garage (which is right behind our preaching spot)
, showed up while I was preaching. It wasn't Collin, it was another young man I had never met before. I asked him if Collin was around tonight and he told me Collin has called in sick. The young man then said:
"You know, you guys are pretty committed to your faith, to be out here so long, preaching the way you do."
"Well, the Lord commands His people to preach the Gospel in His Bible, so that's what we do every Friday night," I replied.
The man just nodded and said: "Have a good night!" I hope to have further occasion to share the Gospel with this man. I thank God for the opportunity we've had to share the Gospel with Collin, the other parking garage attendant. I will pray that the Lord would continue to give us favour with these men and women who work around our preaching spot.
Then, the highlight of my night came. The old man with the cowboy hat came by. Now I've never blogged about this guy; I don't know why... he's been around for years now. Always in the marketplace getting drunk with his friend, and never missing an opportunity to make a spectacle of me. Well, there he was, right in front of me with just one of his friends who was several years younger that he...
"John 3:36," he began, "what is that AM or PM? And who's this John @#$%?"
I rolled my eyes. Not only did I not find his joke particularly funny, I had a pretty good feeling he genuinely had no clue what the Gospel of John was (nor did he want to know anything about it)
. Well, I didn't miss the opportunity to deal with the lost soul.
"You know, I've seen you around here for 3 years now. Always wasting your time, always drunk. Have you ever heard the expression: 'no fool like an old fool'? That sums you up pretty well. A man is supposed to increase in knowledge and wisdom over time, but you, if anything, in the last 3 years, have gotten baser and downright stupid."
Honestly, I was expecting a fiery, angry retort... but it never came. It's almost as if the man understood, right then and there, that I had remembered his past antics and that my assessment of his behaviour might not be that far off. Oh! he wasn't at all pleased with me, it's not like he offered gave me reason, but he did remain quiet, and I'm certain that that look in his eyes was one of guilt.
His friend stood there grinning, and actually started asking questions about my John 3:36
sign. I was able to share the Gospel with this man. We both ignored the occasional foolish outburst that would come out of the old man's mouth (e.g.: "that's stupid", or "I don't believe that!")
, and we spoke of salvation, sin and the need for repentance. After our conversation, the man shook my hand and thanked me for speaking with him, and then, something incredible happened. The old man stuck out his hand and said:
"Alright, take care of yourself."
I truly hope this exchange, and the strange new relationship I now have with these men will carry into the future. These guys are often in the market on Fridays, so I'll be praying for further opportunities to share the Truth with them.
The Lord have mercy on whom He wills, and harden whom He wills.
That's the notes for tonight. I have a very busy weekend ahead of me, so I'm off to get some much needed sleep. God bless you all, dear readers.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Saturday, February 02, 2008
more to come a little later...
Neither Pastor Tim or I were able to go out preaching in market last night. We had a rather impressive snow storm, which made the roads quite treacherous. I opted to stay in.
I apologize for the delay in posting, I've been busy another, rather important matter. I'll share what I was up to in a couple of days. Now, I have to put some serious time in preparing for the Lord's Day.
Have a blessed Lord's Day, brothers and sister-in-the-Lord.